Alphonse Mucha "JOB" Poster
Appraised Value: $6,000 - $9,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (-1:26:-3)
Prints & Posters
Swann Auction Galleries
GUEST: It's from a turn-of-the-century artist, Alphonse Mucha. And I became acquainted with him when I did a bike tour through Prague. I was there with my son. We had bicycled through there together. We went to the Mucha Museum and we'd wanted to get a Mucha T-shirt as a remembrance. And when we left we didn't have time, so I was here in Salt Lake City and I ran into this print in a local gallery. It was in a frame that was broken-- on a broken piece of glass-- and it was mounted on a board. I recognized the artist and got excited about it. So I contacted somebody at the University of Utah that specializes in posters, and she used a piece of equipment called a chipper and took the poster off this board and did a little restoration on it. Then I had it mounted on this acid-free matting and put some U.V. glass over it.
APPRAISER: How much did you pay for it?
GUEST: I paid $1,100 for it locally.
APPRAISER: Mucha was from Czechoslovakia. Did move to Paris. And I'm delighted that you pronounced his name right. Alphonse Mucha-- the most famous Art Nouveau artist. In fact, his work created the Art Nouveau movement. He was the father of Art Nouveau. In fact, Art Nouveau was often called the... "Le Style Mucha," the style of Mucha. He moved to Paris where he did a lot of his great work. Do you know what this piece is advertising?
GUEST: Uh, yes. JOB was a maker of cigarette papers.
APPRAISER: And if you notice, the model has the cigarette in her hand with the smoke that flows up.
GUEST: Absolutely right.
APPRAISER: Rolling papers, because when cigarettes weren't machine made, you had to roll your own. And here she is smoking. One of the great things about the image itself is just the decorative pattern that the smoke takes. It has become an Art Nouveau motif through the great skill of Mucha. Now, another thing you may not have noticed is in the background, on the wallpaper, that actually says "JOB." That's an extension of the decorative motif...
GUEST: I didn't know that.
APPRAISER: ...that he put into the wallpaper background. He really... from top to bottom, it is a great ad, because it reinforces the name and it's an incredible work of art. The JOB company was so happy with Mucha's work they commissioned another poster that was done in 1898. One of Mucha's trademark design features is what was actually referred to as "macaroni hair"-- this flowing, very pasta-like, fantastic swirls of women's hair.
GUEST: It's beautiful.
APPRAISER: This is one of the classic images of that. The gold color in her hair and in the border is actually metallic ink.
APPRAISER: Now, posters can benefit from restoration. And in fact, one of the worst things in the poster world is to have a poster adhered to a solid background like a board or a piece of wood. So now you had it removed from the board...
APPRAISER: In your great research, you also turned up some other things. You found a picture of the poster in a magazine. It's very hard to replicate true color in a magazine. But I must tell you that the colors in the magazine are closer to the real colors than the piece you have here. Not only had it been mounted to a board, but over the century and change that it's been around it faded a little bit.
APPRAISER: How much did you pay for restoration? It was about $175-- less than $200.
APPRAISER: So basically, all told you have just under $1,300 in the piece.
APPRAISER: It is really one of Mucha's classic works. If I had this piece in auction, I would estimate it at $6,000 to $9,000.
GUEST: Great, great.
APPRAISER: Now, were the colors as bright as they appear in the magazine,
APPRAISER: the estimate would be as high as $8,000 to $12,000. But when you bought it, it probably was worth less than the $1,100 you paid.
APPRAISER: But by putting in that restoration, by removing it from the board, by treating it as well as you did, it's now worth between $6,000 and $9,000.
GUEST: Well, thank you very much. I'm very happy with that. Thank you very much.
APPRAISER: It's a great treat to see it.
GUEST: And I enjoy it. It's good memories.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.